Freedom fighter’s nonagenarian wife left to fend for self

Malkangiri: Samaru Durua, a close follower of freedom fighter Laxman Nayak, had earned a place in the annals of history for his sacrifice during the freedom struggle.

Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology, Durua of Boilapari village under Sadar block in this district had joined hands with freedom fighter Laxman Nayak and spearheaded the movement against the British back in 1942.

After Independence, the then state government had felicitated him with a ‘brass plaque’ (Tamtrapatra). However, after his death, his widowed wife Samari Durua (90) is now living in absolute neglect and exclusion.

Plagued by a host of necessities, the widow is taking her last breaths in a thatched hut in the village with her granddaughter. With no help from the administration, the two are struggling hard to meet both ends meet.

When Laxman Nayak led the movement against the British in undivided Koraput district, Durua fought stood by him all the time. However, the British hanged Laxman, accusing him of murder of a forest guard. And, during the same time Durua sustained bullet injuries on his leg. He was treated in MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur and later put behind the bars.

Eventually, Durua lost a leg, but it hardly dampened his spirit to see a free India. The moment came and the country became free from the clutches of the British.

The then state government felicitated Samaru, but her got nothing except a brass plaque. He waited for the government to give facilities that a freedom fighter was supposed to get, but his wish remained unfulfilled.

His wife Samari Durua (90) is now leading a life in abject poverty. Her daughter and son-in-law have since long been died. The freedom fighters’ pension of Rs 3,000 has been stopped since her husband’s death.

Whatever she is presently getting from the state government is a mere Rs 300 towards old-age pension. Worse, her house that she received under Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) is also in a dilapidated condition, making it is difficult for her and her granddaughter to live in.

With no help forthcoming, the responsibility of the house fell on her 12-year-old granddaughter Bhami who is working as housemaid to feed self and her elderly grandma.

While everyone is busy with the preparations for the Independence Day celebration, the sheer negligence meted out to a wife of a freedom fighter is a matter of concern.



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